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Game #29 Preview: Ray vs Bassitt

Blue Jays (14-14) vs Athletics (19-12)

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Blue Jays will try for a third time to pick up a win against the Athletics as they continue their series in Oakland this evening. Gametime is once again set for 9:40 ET, and if you noticed yesterday, the game can be done before midnight Eastern still.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Robbie Ray looks to continue the impressive run that he is on. Through his first 4 starts to open the season, Ray is 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA. He has really brought the walks under control recently, managing 2 straight starts without surrendering one. If you’re a betting person, don’t bet on him extending that to 3 games.

The odd part of his season so far (I don’t want to call it concerning yet) is that he has struck out just 20 batters in 22.2 innings. While still a somewhat decent rate, Ray is someone who has historically struck out 11.5-12 batters per 9 innings. That would mean a typical strikeout year would have Ray at about 30 strikeouts in 22.2 innings, which would make things a lot easier on him with fewer balls in play. I think the strikeouts will come though, as will the walks, and it’s how he balances them going forward that will determine his success.

Athletics’ Starter

Veteran righty Chris Bassitt will make the start for the Athletics, his 7th of the season. Through his first 34.1 innings, Bassitt is 2-2 with a 3.93 ERA, coming in with a similar 3.63 FIP. He has allowed 32 hits and 12 walks while striking out 36 batters, but the impressive number thus far is the 3 home runs allowed. Bassitt has historically done a good job at suppressing home runs, so this isn’t out of the range of normal for him.

The tall righty features a 6 pitch mix, predominantly giving 3 different looks at a fastball while very infrequently going offspeed or throwing a breaking ball. The combination of 4-seamer, sinker and cutter will come out of his hand about 75% of the time, while the changeup, curveball and slider will make up the other 25% fairly evenly. But after a game last night where the Jays’ bats fought hard with change of speeds, they’ll probably be happy to face someone who is consistently throwing heat, albeit a variety of different ways.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The George Springer Saga on whether he plays or not will likely be front and center once again today. What started as fatigue on Sunday is really raising a lot of alarm bells now that we’re into Wednesday.

If Springer is out again today, we’re likely going to see Joe Panik back at third, which would allow a variety of other guys to slide into the DH spot. My guess for today’s game would be Teoscar Hernández.

Danny Jansen will not be catching today, but we don’t know for sure who will be. Riley Adams, still waiting to make his Major League debut in front of his friends and family, is on the active roster and would make sense. Reese McGuire, who is going through the COVID intake process, seems to make a little less sense. McGuire is not on the 40-man roster, which is currently full, and seems more likely to get onto the taxi squad and shuttle around with the team for the time being.

Athletics’ Lineup

Another lefty starter for the Jays means that Stephen Piscotty will continue to get starts in RF. Piscotty is struggling recently, despite the good game he had on Monday, with that home run being his only extra base hits in nearly 3 weeks (30 PA).

Catcher Austin Allen was added to the roster yesterday after Aramis Garcia was placed on the Injured List. Allen will probably start either today or tomorrow, with tomorrow’s getaway day game.

Elvis Andrus was on the bench yesterday, but I would imagine he’ll be back out on the field again today. Seemed like a normal day of rest for him.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Brandon Belt went 4-7 with a pair of home runs and a walk, driving in 7 runs over the two games of a double header to pick up the Monster Bat award. His Giants won the first game against the Rockies 12-4, but fell in the second one 8-6.

Charlie Blackmon hit a 2-out, 3-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 7th in that game 2, a hit that gave him .773 WPA, and a WPA King total of .660 for the entire day.

Cole Irvin gets the Pitcher of the Day award for his game against the Jays last night. He was enjoyable to watch, reminding me of the glory days of Marco Estrada with his changeup, and he worked so quickly to the hitters, allowing the game to be finished in 2 hours and 18 minutes. His final line for the game was 8 innings, 1 run on 3 hits and walk, striking out 9.

Find the Link

Find the link between Austin Allen and Shed Long.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant